When 14,000 Tiger fans gathered this past weekend (Jan. 18), they thought that they were merely attending a basketball game. As they filed into the FedExForum, little did they know that they were stepping into a time machine for a trip to the future.
The game began much like all the others, with the regular starters taking the floor for the opening tip. Yet, it didn't take long to reach 88 miles per hour! Suddenly, everyone in attendance was witnessing the future of the Tiger basketball program right before their eyes.
Heading into the season, Memphis had claimed one of the nation's top recruiting classes. However, four senior guards, a senior transfer (David Pellom), and a sophomore standout (Shaq Goodwin) have kept many of the highly talented players on the bench.
One thing is for certain. The Memphis Grizzlies have formed great partnerships in the Memphis community. And with one particular affiliation, a special bond has been established.
The Stax Music Academy has not been the same since the Memphis Grizzlies teamed up with the Soulsville Foundation to host one of the largest fundraising events of the year. Just one week after the Grizz Gala, local movers and shakers gathered on Saturday at the Stax Museum for the 10th Annual Staxtacular event. The evening's theme was "Suit Up and Play."
The hosts of the night were Grizz Players Mike Conley, Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter. Joining them were newcomers Tayshaun Prince, Courtney Lee, James Johnson and Jamaal Franklin, who experienced their first Staxtacular and were more than proud to take part in the festivities.
The Grizzlies reached deep into their desire-to-win tank and pulled out a thrilling 91-90 victory over the Sacramento Kings at the FedExForum on Friday night.
It went right down to the final buzzer, with center Marc Gasol getting just enough of a tipped ball aimed for the King's Demarcus Cousins, who was camped underneath Sacramento's basket.
UofM fan: The new American Athletic Conference (AAC) is awesome!
UConn fan: (squinting) How so?
UofM fan: Well, for one the Tigers have gotten much better exposure this year. We have been on a major network 8 times in 16 games.
UConn fan: (sarcastically) Hate to break it to you, but that's what it was like it in the Big East for us in the past.
An Arkansas State football player who was trying to shield his family from robbers was shot to death, along with his stepfather, the New York Daily News reports.
Markel Owens, a 21-year-old junior defensive lineman for the Red Wolves, was fatally shot along with Johnny Shivers, 36, during the robbery at a duplex in Jackson, Tenn., the Daily News reports.
Shivers died at the scene. Owens was taken to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Memphis Grizzlies fans were given a real surprise on Tuesday night (Jan. 14). All-Star center Marc Gasol hit the floor of the FedExForum to start against one of the top teams in the NBA after missing 23 consecutive games with a left knee injury.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year sported a black brace but it didn't get in the way of helping his team outlast the Oklahoma City Thunder 90 to 87 in a high-energy game that kept the crowd on edge.
Gasol's return triggered a standing ovation from the 17,177 in attendance. He responded with 12 points in 24 minutes of play.
The NBA is soon approaching the end of the first half of the season and the Memphis Grizzlies appear to have found a groove. Players are settling into their roles. Missing Marc Gasol, Quincy Pondexter and Tony Allen due to injury, on Sunday (Jan. 12) they faced the Atlanta Hawks, rallying for a fourth quarter outburst that resulted in a 108-101 victory.
"We played really, really well together and they looked like they were having fun playing together, which is really a treat when you are a coach and you enjoy being around a great group of guys," said Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger.
"They share the basketball and they make extra passes. They are helping each other on defense and no one is pointing fingers. It's all of us in it and trying to help each other. It's a good feeling right now."